The red-tailed hawk has very few predators, but crows and great-horned owls prey on baby red-tailed nestlings and eggs. Owls also fight with one another over nesting sites and may kill nestlings and destroy eggs during the process. Fewer than half of all red-tailed hawks survive their first year after hatching.
Red-tailed hawks also fight with other raptors, including other hawks, bald eagles and golden eagles, to defend prey that they snatch from the ground, including ground squirrels, mice and other rodents, insects, fish and reptiles. In the wild, this hawk can live up to 12 years but, in captivity, it may live up to 28 years.